We only have a taste of Saints Row in the demo that was made available, but that taste was odd. There was also an aftertaste. They're trying so hard to produce an "authentic" "urban" voice that it strikes the ear as parody. It sounds like one of those soundboards you might use to do a prank call - not that it will matter overmuch to the target demographic.
Games of the Urban Sandbox genre rarely get played for their plotline, at least not by anyone I know - but that might be a function of GTA's frustrating missions and imprecise combat. As a game where you are simply screwing around, Saints Row is probably more enjoyable in raw terms: substantial input on your character design, much sharper graphics, more complete brawling, and (this is key) running down physics-operable pedestrians. The framerate can get a little rough, but I honestly have no idea what stage of development this "muh'fuckah" represents.
Where the game is going to shake off the "Grand Theft Auto Clone" moniker (which it richly deserves in every other sense) is in the multiplayer. Yes, multiplayer. Modes where one collects Big-Ass Chains from fallen enemies to score - like Rabbit, in Tribes - along with modes where one must protect your Pimp, or go point to point blanging out your ride with a car full of teammates sounds pretty hot to me, and there's a lot of room on Live for games where one is not a professional soldier or a race car driver.
There was a bunch of little stuff that happened, some of it in the last few hours:
- The Dead Rising demo hit Live, and I haven't played it, but I know that a) it is around gig, just as many demos are on the service these days, and b) it is locked down to fifteen minutes. This last part is unfortunate, but since playing it at (what would come to be the last, true) E3 I have been wondering how they could possibly release that demo to a person they then expected to buy it. I'm here to tell you that even after having played it already, I waited in line for forty-five minutes the next day to play it again. It's a little sandboxy as well, in that the areas you visit are full of all kinds of crap and you can sort of just do your thing. If they hadn't constrained it in some way, you would be "getting the milk for free," which might obviate your cow purchase.
- Transgaming's Cider product allows Windows games to run on Intel Macs without dual booting or costly and painful waxing. It isn't emulation exactly, and it does require some devloper cooperation. I've been expecting Apple to handle something like this themselves, and they may yet, but perhaps they believe that Boot Camp has it under control. I sometimes, even in our enlightened age, see snark merchants snickering about the dilapidated state of Mac gaming. This was in a post I was reading on my Mac, booted into Windows, right before I played the demo of Prey with no hitches the very day of its release. I don't know if there is this storehouse of tired-ass Mac jokes out there that have no defined use, or what, but we're way past the expiration date on that type of material.